Cole Caufield out for remainder of 2022-23 season

The Montreal Canadiens announced on Saturday that leading scorer Cole Caufield will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. (Getty Pictures)

Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield will miss the remainder of the 2022-23 NHL season after sustaining a right shoulder injury that will require surgery, the team announced Saturday.

Caufield will undergo surgery “in the near future”, and an update on his recovery timeline will be provided after the procedure.

According to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, the 22-year-old has played with the injury for much of the season.

Caufield was in the middle of a career year, scoring 26 goals and registering 10 assists for 36 points in 46 games.

Head coach Martin St. Louis told reporters Caufield is being evaluated after every game after suffering a shoulder injury earlier this season. A medical update on Friday determined the star sniper should be retired for the season.

The Montreal locker room was dark on Saturday morning as the players spoke to reporters after practice.

“It sucks,” forward Josh Anderson said of Caufield’s loss. “Everybody in this team loves him, the fan base, the whole town loves him. It’s hard to talk about it because everything is new for us.”

The Habs will not only struggle to replace their on-ice goal contributions, but also their infectious energy in the locker room amid a tough season for the club.

“He’s an important player for us and an important part of the dressing room,” captain and teammate Nick Suzuki said. “Everyone will have to step up and try to add some of the enthusiasm and energy that Cole brings to the rink every day.”

Caufield is the latest name to join the Canadiens’ long injury list; a roster that includes Jonathan Drouin, Jake Allen, Brendan Gallagher and 2022 first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury.

“When it rains, it seems to rain,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of guys coming out with injuries, but it gives other guys an opportunity to step in and make a name for themselves.”

The Mosinee, Wis. native took part in practice on Friday and spoke to the media afterwards, answering multiple questions about the progress of contract negotiations with the Canadiens.

“I love being here, I love this team and this group of guys,” Caufield said. “So I’m just going one step at a time. But it is sure that it is in a corner of my head.

Forward Alex Belzile was recalled from the Laval Rocket of the AHL in a corresponding move.

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